Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
After more than 40,000 people signed a 13-year-old’s petition urging the toy company Hasbro to make a gender-neutral version of its iconic “Easy Bake Oven,” the company has agreed to give the product a makeover next year. As the Associated Press reports:
McKenna Pope was prompted to start the petition after shopping for an Easy-Bake as a Christmas present for her 4-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, and finding them only in purple and pink.
Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters to meet with its Easy-Bake team, and on Monday, they drove to Rhode Island from New Jersey. During the meeting, Hasbro executives showed off a prototype of their newest Easy-Bake: one that’s black, silver and blue.
Hasbro has been working on the new color scheme and design for about 18 months, and decided to invite McKenna to see it and offer her thoughts, said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer.
McKenna said the company is doing everything she asked, including putting boys in the ads.
‘‘I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me,’’ she said, adding that Gavyn thought the new design was ‘‘awesome.’’
Frascotti pointed out that the classic toy has had about a dozen different color schemes, from yellow to green to teal to silver, since first being introduced in 1963. The most recent iteration, introduced in 2011, is mostly purple with pink accents.
He said it’s sold well since then, and that prompted the company to look for a way to update it and to broaden the consumer base by doing it in different colors.
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‘‘It’s actually a product that’s played with by both boys and girls,’’ he said. ‘‘We will continue to offer the existing product too because it’s so popular.’’
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
The Easy-Bake Oven, the classic children’s baking toy first marketed in 1963, has received the latest in a string of design makeovers, this time losing the 100-watt lightbulb that for decades generated the heat to bake the cakes and other treats kids could make in the oven.
Part of the reason for the redesign is the phasing out of incandescent lightbulbs. The compact fluorescent bulbs that are the new standard generate less heat than their predecessors, which is good for the environment, but not helpful to little bakers.
The toy’s manufacturer says, after a 2007 voluntary recall of an earlier model, the new oven can reach 375 degrees, but it adheres to all safety standards, as the outside of the oven never gets more than warm. The Associated Press reported on the redesigned oven:
The forced re-engineering also handed Hasbro an excuse to give the Easy-Bake — which in the 1960s and 1970s came in the era’s popular kitchen decor colors — its most modern makeover yet.
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“This gave us a reason to do it completely differently,” said Michelle Paolino, a vice president of global brand strategy and marketing at Hasbro.
“We wanted it to look more like a real appliance, not a plastic toy,” she said.
About the size of a big bread box, the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is clearly designed to fit on any kitchen counter, assuming a parent is willing to shell out $49.99, a steep hike from the last model’s price tag of $29.99.
“It looks sort of like an Art Deco toaster with wings — a purple one,” said Patricia Hogan, curator at The Strong, which includes the National Museum of Play and the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, N.Y. “It’s just so cool.”
The oven targets girls between 8 and 12. The beauty of the oven, the company and users say, is that children can mix and bake mostly themselves — the food gets pushed in one end of the oven, cooks, then comes out the other side. Still, Hasbro says parental supervision is required.
(image via: http://www.boston.com/)